Going Pedestrian on Carroll Road

A lonely stretch of Carroll Road in Green Ridge State Forest

A lonely stretch of Carroll Road in Green Ridge State Forest

A friend of ours (we’ll call her Jane) is hiking the Camino de Santiago later this summer, and Candee–having done the Camino–has taken over the role of resident trainer.  So how do you prepare somebody to hike across Spain?  As much as we love the C&O, it’s kind of…well…flat, and it’s not going to get anybody ready to tackle the Pyrenees.

Our starting point--the parking lot near the Point Lookout Overlook on Carroll Road.  We have a picture of this from an earlier time, but it was a hazy day.  Anyway, I like this one much better!

Our starting point–the parking lot near the Point Lookout Overlook on Carroll Road. We have a picture of this from an earlier time, but it was a hazy day. Anyway, I like this one much better!

Lately, we’ve hit the AT and a few of Green Ridge State Forest’s many trails, but today we were looking for a change of pace–something with some ups-and-downs and a bit of scenery.  Jane requested an overlook, and I had to deliver.  I came up with Carroll Road as an unlikely spot, but it made for a very good hike.

The Red Eft salamander is the juvenile stage of the Eastern Red-Spotted Newt

The Red Eft  salamander is the juvenile stage of the Eastern Red-Spotted Newt.  We spotted this little fellow about the halfway point of our detination

Green Ridge State Forest has an interesting history, particularly the area around Carroll Road and Mertens Avenue, but I needed to know more.  Suddenly it hit me–“Champ” Zumbrun’s History of Green Ridge State Forest.  Fortunately, I have the book on my Kindle, and Candee read a couple of chapters during our ride.

Carroll Chimney

Carroll Chimney

Carroll Road is named after Charles Carroll, the last surviving signer of the Declaration of Independence.  In the early 1800s, he owned most of today’s Green Ridge State Forest, and Carroll Chimney is the last remnant of the family’s steam-powered sawmill.  This is also the site of a pavilion and the lone port-a-john along the road.

Stream crossing on Carroll Road.  In most places there were large holes on the downstream side of the road culverts, which were home to numerous small fish and frogs.

Stream crossing on Carroll Road. In most places there were large holes on the downstream side of the road culverts, which were home to numerous small fish and frogs.

With all of this in mind, we set out on foot for a six-mile round trip from Point Lookout to Stickpile Tunnel and back.  I’ve driven the road many times, but I’ve never taken the time to listen to the two babbling streams that the road runs alongside–or to notice the many wildflowers that grow along the way.

many of the Mayapples were in bloom.  Later in the year, the plant bears a fruit that is "edible" when it ripens--or turns yellowish and starts to shrivel up.  The leaves, roots, and seeds are deemed as toxic, so I would be somewhat--no VERY--hesitant to sample the fruit or partake of grandma's homemade Mayapple jam or jelly.  Yes, there are recipes for both on the internet.

Many of the May Apples were in bloom. Later in the year, the plant bears a fruit that is “edible” when it ripens–or turns yellowish and starts to shrivel. The leaves, roots, and seeds are deemed as toxic, so I would be somewhat–no VERY–hesitant to sample the fruit or partake of grandma’s homemade May Apple jam or jelly. Yes, there are recipes for both on the internet.

The road is a popular destination for campers (although fishermen and boaters headed to Bonds Landing are advised to use Mertens Avenue), as several rustic campsites and picnic tables are nearby.  One usually doesn’t consider following a road as a means of getting exercise and taking in some wonderful scenery, but this lonely lane in eastern Allegany County makes for a pretty spectacular walk in the woods.

Spiderwort

Spiderwort

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7 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Jamie on May 15, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    That’s a great shot of the Potomac valley from the overlook. The one and only time I was on Carroll Rd, the overlook was fogged in so I didn’t bother to stop.

    Charles Carroll was an interesting character in the history of the C&O. He was an early supporter of canals, both the C&O and its predecessor, the Pawtomack Company. However, when it came time to build the B&O railroad, he was its most distinguished advocate and an original board member. He also had the honor of turned the first spade in its construction, even as President John Quincey Adams was doing likewise for the C&O on the very same day!

    Carroll’s estate of Carrollton bordered the Potomac between Catoctin Mountain and Monocacy River. When the Canal Company attempted to purchase the right of way through his property, he made it very difficult for them, as by then his allegiance was entirely with the railroad.

    When he died, he owned over 70,000 acres of property in three states. He also owned the Warm Springs at Berkeley Springs, WV. At the time of his death at age 95 in 1832, he was believed to be the wealthiest man in America.

    Reply

  2. Posted by LevelWalker on May 15, 2014 at 6:32 pm

    Jamie,

    Great stuff, as always. Mertens called the overlook the most beautiful view on earth. It’s nice, but I’m not sure if it’s all that. Generally, I get fog or a bad case of backlash from the sun when I take a picture from Point Lookout.

    Reply

  3. Posted by Jamie on May 16, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    I’m a little slow on the uptake – just realized your overlook photo captures the portion of the canal I hiked two weeks ago. Gives it a new perspective!

    I saw one large patch of mayapple near Cumberland but it wasn’t yet in bloom.

    Reply

  4. Posted by LevelWalker on May 16, 2014 at 4:04 pm

    That would have been your last hike. It’s a really nice section of the towpath down there. From the overlook–looking downstream–the Doe Gully Trestle is way off in the distance. Looking upstream, you can see the trestle that’s close to the Robey Hollow Culvert. Everything looks really small from Point Lookout!

    Reply

  5. Posted by LevelWalker on May 16, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    On second thought…that might be another trestle, and Doe Gully may be further down. Looks like I have an appointment with Mr. Hahn!

    Reply

  6. Posted by Ray on February 9, 2015 at 1:45 pm

    That is doe gully to the left as you look down from Carroll rd overlook

    Reply

    • Posted by LevelWalker on February 10, 2015 at 12:08 am

      Thanks for the information, Ray. That’s a place name that pops up a lot in conjunction with the WMRR. I wasn’t sure exactly which trestle to associate with Doe Gully. There’s a really cool WMRR site on the net that I should link to. One of our all-time favorite hikes was to the Kessler Tunnel a few miles upstream in the bends. I appreciate the comment and like to hear about area on both sides of the river.

      Reply

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